Author's Notes: Still not sure what I'm doing writing this stuff. This chapter beings immediately after the end of "The Almost People."
The Shot Heard 'Round the Universe
It was like waking up. Was it like waking up? It all happened in a blink. One moment there, the next here, lying in a cramped chamber so white it hurt her eyes. Where was here? Did it matter? It didn't matter, not right now, because above her a hatch had opened, and she was staring into the face of the woman with the eyepatch, who smiled at her and spoke about the little one, and when Amy looked down and saw the massive expanse of her belly, the only thing she could do at first was scream.
Then she fought. She couldn't sit up, there wasn't enough room and she wasn't even sure if she could, but she pounded the wall in front of her, pounded it and screamed at the top of her lungs. It slid away and suddenly she was surrounded by people, all of them talking, shouting over her, lifting her up and handling her like she was some passive sack. She struggled and struck out, trying to get away, never mind that she was pregnant (pregnant!) and going into labor and in the middle of God knew where in the whole wide universe. But then hands clamped down on her arm and she felt the sting of a needle and the burn of something entering her body, and she suddenly felt sluggish. They carried her to an actual bed, where she watched as they put an IV in her arm and a mask on her face and worked and talked and then she had to pay attention.
She did, but even as she did, thoughts broke through the pain and the drugs. Rory should be here. Why wasn't he here? He was back on the TARDIS. The Doctor was back on the TARDIS, too. They were coming. He said they were coming. And even if he didn't make it, Rory would. She didn't know how, but he would. Where were they? Were they coming? They had to be here. Rory had to be here.
Hours passed, or maybe they didn't, but she remembered, and knew she would always remember, the moment when she heard the baby's first thin cry. And she looked, and she saw them holding her up, tiny and wrinkled and a weird red-yellow color, but alive, alive, alive, and so beautiful.
She watched as they took her and cleaned her up in another part of the room. "Can I see her?" she asked. "Can I—let me see her." They wrapped her up in a clean white blanket while she cried and squirmed in their hands. "Let me see her!"
The door opened. The woman with the eyepatch walked in. "Well?"
"Healthy as far as we can tell," one of the doctors said.
She smiled. "Good. Take her upstairs."
And they were bundling her up—
"No! No! Let me see her! Let me—NO!"
—and two of them walked through the door with her, still screaming—
"NO!" She was screaming now, too, trying to get up, trying to pull herself off the bed, trying to follow them, because they were taking her baby away from her, and the people standing around her tried to push her back down again, and they were shouting at her to calm down, but she didn't care, she had to get her baby back, she had to—
The woman with the eyepatch glanced at Amy before she left the room. "Sedate her," she said.
And then one of the nurses managed to pin down the arm with the IV in it, and she felt the burning cold sensation of something rushing through her, and the world slowly went blurry and finally went dark.
He didn't know how long he'd been standing by the door, staring at the puddle of lifeless Flesh that had been his wife. He looked up on reflex when he heard his name. The Doctor stood at the bottom of the steps up to the console, his arms folded and his expression perfectly serious.
"I'm sorry, Rory, I am. But I need you to focus now."
Rory stared at him for a moment, then looked back down at the white puddle on the floor. "How long did you know?"
"How long?" he snapped, looking back up at the Doctor. It was easy to feel angry now—it was better than all the other things he was feeling, better than the shock and pain and confusion.
The Doctor swallowed and glanced away from him for a moment. "Since America. They might have taken her earlier than that, I can't be sure."
Rory shook his head and looked away from him again. It had all happened so quickly—they'd made it out of the factory alive and whole and then it had turned into some kind of nightmare, a nightmare worse than anything he'd seen since meeting the Doctor. Amy was gone. She'd never been here, and all that was left of her was the puddle on the floor.
"I'll get her back, Rory, her and the baby, I promise, but I need your help."
His eyes darted back up to the Doctor. "The-?" The conversation they'd been having as the whole world had gone mad replayed itself in his mind. Amy was pregnant. She was going into labor. With a baby. "The baby?"
The corners of the Doctor's mouth twitched up in a brief smile. "Congratulations."
The world spun, or perhaps it spun harder. The baby. Amy's baby. Their baby. He glanced between the puddle of Flesh and the Doctor, his stomach turning. He couldn't even spare a moment to be happy, because he wasn't there. They'd talked sometimes about having children, especially after America, when Amy thought she'd been pregnant (but she had been all along). He'd told her that he wanted to know, he wanted to be a part of it, he wanted to be there. And now that it was happening, he was on the other side of the universe.
He met the Doctor's eyes, his anger boiling low again. "Doctor, where is she?"
"You said you'd find her, where is she?" He stepped forward, avoiding the Flesh but closing the distance to the stairs. "And—and the baby? Where are they?"
The Doctor sighed, his shoulders dropping a little as he glanced down at the floor. "I don't know. I'm tracking the signal back, but I don't know, not yet."
"How can you not know where they are? You—you've known she wasn't here all this time, and you don't know—" He moved closer, his fists clenching as he glared at the Doctor.
"Rory, stop it," the Doctor said sternly. "You can say whatever you like later, but now you need to trust me, and you need to think of them."
"Right." Rory spun around, pacing back towards the door. "Right." He stopped at the dartboard. The holes were still fresh in the cork, and he could see the scores on the slate board where Amy'd written them, hours ago. Amy. Not Amy. Maybe Amy. His hand shook as he reached up to touch the board, running his finger over one of the numbers.
How was this happening? After all the mad things he'd seen and done and never did at all—and now this, the maddest thing of them all. It was awful and sickening and it felt like there was nothing he could do. Even ages ago, in Wales with the Silurians, there'd been something to do. But now, with Amy gone and her baby with her… he couldn't protect her. He couldn't do anything.
He turned back around. The Doctor still stood on the steps, his arms still folded, his expression unchanged.
"We will get them back, Rory, I promise. But I need you to trust me."
Rory looked down at the puddle on the floor again. There was a lump amid the uniform whiteness. He knelt and gingerly plucked it out of the mess, shaking the Flesh off as best he could. As he stood back up, he turned the thing over in his hand.
It was Amy's wedding ring.
He closed his hand around it tightly.
"You'll help me," he said to the Doctor. He could feel the door creaking open in the back of his head, two thousand years of determination rising fast and strong. "You'll help me get them back."